EU should care for own interests, not to be 'exploited by US': Chinese experts
China EU to hold high-level dialogue: report
Published: Jul 18, 2022 10:21 PM
China-EU Photo: VCG

China-EU Photo: VCG

Against the background of ricocheting regional tensions, such as the Ukraine-Russia conflict, China and Europe deliver a signal of maintaining economic cooperation by reportedly planning to hold a high-level dialogue on Tuesday.

Chinese experts said that the EU should not be "exploited by the US" and hold a hostile policy toward China, at a time when the EU is mired in severe inflation, malfunctioning supply chains and economic slowdown.

According to the South China Morning Post (SCMP), the EU will hold a high-level trade dialogue with China on Tuesday after months of delay. 

Valdis Dombrovskis, the European commissioner for trade, and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He will co-chair the virtual dialogue, which will also include representatives from the trade and economic ministries of both sides, according to the SCMP report.

The report cited a European Commission representative as saying that a number of global economic challenges will be discussed during the dialogue, including food security and energy prices, supply chains, financial services, and bilateral trade and investment concerns.

Experts said that holding the meeting reflects the two sides' shared willingness to keep China-Europe relations stable and resilient despite a volatile geopolitical situation, by striving to keep the bilateral mechanism running normally. 

"The more difficult the situation is, the more significant the two sides hold discussions. Otherwise, both sides will become victims of international political wrestling," Cui Hongjian, director of the Department of European Studies at the China Institute of International Studies, told the Global Times.

According to Cui, China and the EU need to join hands to tackle the negative economic impact of the Ukraine crisis. In particular, they should work together to address some urgent problems facing them.

For example, the EU has been talking about the urgency of supply chain security, but the achievement of such a goal shouldn't be equated with excluding China from the EU's supply chains, like some have proposed, Cui said.

As China and Europe have deep economic ties in many aspects, the two sides will need to support each other on many economic issues. For example, at a time when global grain prices are fluctuating, China and the EU should make sure that the two sides cooperate to stabilize grain supply. 

And, they should think of ways to ensure global grain security by jointly addressing the negative impact of current conflicts on global grain prices, which will also bring benefits to many countries. 

Some experts stressed that China-EU cooperation is significant for Europe, whose economy is facing severe problems and has risks of falling into a deeper recession if it blindly follows in the steps of the US by countering China.

The EU is facing grave challenges, Li Yong, deputy chairman of the Expert Committee of the China Association of International Trade, a think tank affiliated with the Chinese Ministry of Commerce, told the Global Times on Monday.

Global inflation is elevated, driven by surging energy and food prices. Against the background of interest rate hikes by the US Federal Reserve, a European debt crisis has emerged and the euro has depreciated, Li said.

Inflation continues to rise across Europe.Graphic:Huo Siyu/GT

Inflation continues to rise across Europe.Graphic:Huo Siyu/GT

Hu Qimu, chief research fellow at the Sinosteel Economic Research Institute, told the Global Times on Monday that the EU is very likely to slide into recession by relying on its own economic cycle. Therefore, it is necessary for EU to strengthen cooperation with China.

As for why the trade dialogue was delayed for several months, Chinese experts said that the main reason is that the EU believed in the US energy commitment, stood firmly on the US side and held high the banner of sanctions against Russia. 

"It should be said that the outbreak and continuation of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine is a strategic mistake made by the EU. The EU was exploited by the US and lost everything. In the end, it must return to the road of cooperation and negotiation with China," Hu said. 

China and EU have already enhanced communication recently over multiple issues. On Sunday, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto talked over the phone about bilateral ties and the Ukraine crisis. 

Wang said that the Ukraine crisis has not only seriously affected Europe - its negative spillover has also affected the world.

The lessons from the Ukraine crisis are profound and worth learning for all sides, Wang noted, saying that in the long run, the parties should discuss building a balanced, effective, and sustainable European security framework, so as to realize lasting peace and security.

Cui said that although the dialogue is unlikely to generate many detailed projects in the short term, it would be good progress if the two sides can achieve some intention of cooperation. 

A coal-fired power plant operated by German energy supplier RWE is seen in Neurath, western Germany, on July 13, 2022. In response to a squeeze of Russian gas supplies, Germany has reactivated mothballed coal power plants to take the burden off gas. Photo: cnsphoto

A coal-fired power plant operated by German energy supplier RWE is seen in Neurath, western Germany, on July 13, 2022. In response to a squeeze of Russian gas supplies, Germany has reactivated mothballed coal power plants to take the burden off gas. Photo: cnsphoto